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The story behind Bulgari Residences Dubai

Bulgari and Meraas unveils its project Bulgari Residences Dubai at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Antonio Citterio, architect on the project, talks to Construction Business News ME about his work with Bulgari Resort and Residences, and what it means to design high-end luxury products

This April, the Dubai-based holding company Meraas and the international luxury brand Bulgari announced the launch of Bulgari Residences Dubai as part of the 1.7 million square feet Bulgari Resort and Residences that is taking shape on the Jumeira Bay Island.

The project will be entirely designed by the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners. It comprises of 165 apartments, eight penthouses and 15 mansions. In addition to common areas such as private landscaped gardens, swimming pools and gymnasiums, residents can enjoy a host of dining and sporting options on site, including the 50 berths Marina and Bulgari Yacht Club and benefit from the unmatched service standard of the adjacent Bulgari Resort.

The project was unveiled at a press conference headlined by Cherif Hosny, Chief Hospitality Officer of Meraas, Silvio Ursini, Executive Vice President of Bulgari, and the world renowned architect Antonio Citterio of Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners.

The Italian architect who has handled the architectural and interior design aspects of all the Bulgari Hotels worldwide including, the Bulgari Resort and Residences Dubai. His close attention to the smallest detail has helped translate the luxury of the Bulgari brand along with the high quality of a Meraas development. Born in Meda in 1950, started his design office in 1972, and graduated in architecture at the Milan Polytechnic in 1975. Citterio he was awarded the Compasso d’Oro-ADI in 1987 and in 1994, and since 2006 he has been a professor of Architectural Design at the Mendrisio Academy of Architecture, Switzerland. In 2008 he was honoured by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce of London, which gave him the title of Royal Designer for Industry.

Speaking to the media about the design, Citterio says it all started with how to define luxury. He says that for him luxury is quality of life and he wanted to recreate it in this project by designing a space worth living in. “We didn’t want to create a cold hotel space, but something more similar to a village. I wouldn’t imagine the space as empty but filled with people.

“We are not interested in competition, but providing better quality of life for the people.”

The concept of a village design, comes from Italian culture itself. “When you think of villages, you think of community and that is what we want people to feel in Bulgari Residences.”

“It might not be exactly like a village,” he jokes. “The material used in building will be of better quality to help these structures last in the future. It is not a place for vacation, but a place to live.”

Characterized by its efforts to create perfect harmony with nature through its unique architectural style, the Bulgari Resort and Residences Dubai aims to seamlessly integrate the physical elements present on the Jumeira Bay Island. For instance, while the ubiquitous use of limestone is reminiscent of the golden sands of the desert, it also harks back to the timeless sculpted architecture of Southern Italy. Limestone has also been generously used in the boundary walls of the development, while the podiums are similarly clad in golden limestone. In addition, the lava stone and basalt paving create a sophisticated graphic contrast for public space – that in architectural terms makes up the ‘inner’ urban environment.

The event included a 12m x 8m preview model of the project unveiled for the audience at the media briefing. Addressing the media, Cherif Hosny, chief hospitality officer, Meraas says: “Bulgari Residences Dubai is not a regular development with branded elements. It is truly the first of its kind created from pre-concept, with the intention of translating the visions of both the primary stakeholders – Bulgari and Meraas – into an extraordinary man-made marvel.”

The launch of the Bulgari Residences Dubai complements the earlier announcement of the Bulgari Resort Dubai as part of the agreement signed in May 2014 by His Excellency, Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, and Jean-Christophe Babin, Chief Executive Officer of Bulgari Group. The partnership to bring the luxury hospitality brand to Dubai was signed in Rome at Bulgari’s historic flagship store dating back to 1905. The master development, Bulgari Resort and Residences Dubai, is scheduled for completion in 2017.

According to Hosny, Dubai has particularly proven to be attractive for major luxury brands to set up and showcase themselves to the region’s potential customer base. “Dubai has demonstrated a strong track record for constantly and continuously being the first in the region to introduce new and appealing high-end, superlative developments. Demand for prime property will continue to rise – and as the market matures, expectations will rise for qualitative, detail-focused and refined finished products. As that demand grows, investment in such developments will also surge.”

Silvio Ursini, Executive Vice President, Bulgari says, “We are proud of the partnership with Meraas in bringing the Bulgari brand signature contemporary Italian style to Dubai, where we see great demand for such high-quality developments. In 2017, upon completion of the project, the resort and residences will serve our international niche audience looking for the most exclusive experience. .”

Antonio Citterio says that the collaboration between the two entities has been seamless. “Both groups have allowed us to perfect all aspects of the design, to transform both visions into reality.”

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